Excellent use of substitutions

With online shopping now more popular and accessible than ever, Christmas 2005 was the biggest test to date to see whether the retailers have got their houses in order. Our most recent survey suggests that they have. However, some of the supermarkets were showing signs of buckling under the pressure. Ronan Hegarty reports

Ordered: 13.12.05

Delivered: 17.12.05

Time taken: 45 mins

Location: London

Number of items delivered: 33

Out of stocks: 3

Substitutions: 3

Delivery charge: £4.95

Total paid: £47.42The decision regarding where to award our Star Order prize was a close-run thing between two retailers that both delivered excellent levels of customer satisfaction, albeit in very different ways.

It was a close battle between online specialist Ocado, which delivered all of the items our shopper asked for without any hassle, and Asda, which rose above poor performances in the two previous surveys to leave our shopper with no complaints.

In the end the award goes to Asda, which surprised our shopper, who had previously used and been disappointed by the multiple’s online service.

Asda provided our shopper with 33 items and although three of these were substitutions, each of them was acceptable and logical and in the end saved our shopper money.

For both the own label double cream and cheapest tomato puree, which were out of stock, our shopper received a more expensive branded item as a replacement. In both cases Asda stuck to the cheaper price, in accordance with its Price Match policy.

The final substitution made our shopper even happier. Instead of a 400g pack of frozen cooked and peeled prawns at £2.49, our shopper received a 300g pack carrying a 50% extra free promotion, bringing it up to 450g for just £1.41.

As well as being completely satisfied with his order, our shopper encountered no problems at any stage of the process.

He had used the site before so the ordering process was smooth. The delivery was on time and he said that the delivery driver was particularly friendly and had no trouble in answering all of his queries.